Florida Georgia Line Discuss Eclectic ‘Dig Your Roots’ Collaborations
For their third studio album, Dig Your Roots, set for release on Friday (Aug. 26), Florida Georgia Line reached out to a few of their own favorite artists, hoping to help make their new set of tunes their best (and most eclectic) record to date. The Backstreet Boys, Ziggy Marley and Tim McGraw all make appearances on the project, which Brian Kelley says finds him and duo partner Tyler Hubbard "get[ting] back to our roots and just doing what we wanted to do."
BSB are featured on "God, Your Mama and Me," a song written by hit tunesmiths Hillary Lindsey, Josh Kear and Gordie Sampson -- but the boy band didn't add their vocals to the track until it was already completely finished.
"That was a song that was done; we put all our vocals on it, and it was turned in, mastered," Kelley recently told The Boot and other reporters. "We got to develop a relationship with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. He was in town, at CMA Fest, he ended up on our bus, and we got to playing some songs and played "God, Your Mama and Me," and he fell in love with it. Next thing you know, he’s playing it for the guys, and Joey [Moi], our producer, and Seth [England], our manager, were flying out to LA; they were laying down their vocals.
"We’ve been fans of them for years, and I think everybody loves the Backstreet Boys," Kelley adds. "I think when collaborations, when they happen, it’s all about the song, it’s all about timing. This one just kind of fit; that magic was there. [It was] really cool; those guys are good guys."
Marley, meanwhile, appears on "Life Is a Honeymoon," a reggae-infused track that FGL had already chosen to include on Dig Your Roots before having the idea to ask the Jamaican artist (and son of the legendary Bob Marley) to appear on it.
"For us, we just felt like that was the song [for a collaboration with Marley] because it was so reggae and kind of different ... Because it fit that vein and it was in that lane, we said, ‘Hey, let’s ask Marley to help us do that song and just see? I mean, I know that’s crazy,'" Hubbard recalls. "All of these collaborations were us just dreaming and really knowing that we were kind of crazy, but let’s just go for it.
"We didn’t even know how to get in touch with Ziggy or anything," Hubbard continues. "After a few days, we finally got ahold of his management and said, ‘Hey, this is what we’d like to do,’ and Ziggy was all about it; he was really cool about it ... We got that song back, and he really brought that song to life and gave it a lot more meaning. It feels like he just took it to the next level."
But perhaps FGL's favorite track on Dig Your Roots is "May We All," which features country music superstar McGraw.
"Sonically, that voice," Kelley gushes. "He shows up to work, and he gets it done, and he puts out an amazing product, and it’s art and it’s beautiful. We all smirked when we heard Tim McGraw come in on that second verse. Everybody knows who it is, and that’s one of the coolest feelings, that song on the album … It’s very humbling."
Although McGraw recorded his vocals separately from Kelley and Hubbard, he did shoot a video with the guys, sharing his wisdom from his years as both an experienced artist and a seasoned actor.
"We took a different approach to this music video: There’s no performance shots, no singing or acting like we’re singing. It’s pretty much a 5-minute-long video, so it’s like a movie," Kelley explains. "Tyler puts it best: It felt like the day we were shooting this mini-movie, it was a movie, because Tim McGraw was there. He shows up like a pro: He’s in character. He’s all greased up. He’s just amazing."
Though it may seem an unlikely choice to have a '90s pop band, a Jamaican singer and a country superstar all appear on Dig Your Roots, it's their inclusion on the record that makes the project FGL's favorite to date.
"This is a year of digging our roots, past, present and future, laying it down and being thankful and realizing where we’re at, and putting that in our music," Kelley admits. "This album is full of our roots."
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